Croatia axe coach ahead of vital qualifier

Oct 7, 2017 - 12:09 PM Croatia coach Ante Cacic has been sacked and replaced by Zlatko Dalic two days before a crucial World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

A 1-1 draw at home against Finland on Friday proved to be Cacic's final match in charge.

The result was costly as it saw Croatia slip from top spot to second place in Group I, falling two points behind Iceland, who were 3-0 winners away to Turkey.

It leaves Croatia highly unlikely to qualify automatically for Russia 2018, as leaders Iceland face minnows Kosovo on Monday in the final round of group games.

Croatia risk missing out on the play-offs too, knowing defeat to Ukraine in Kiev on Monday would see their opponents overtake them.

The Croatian football federation (HNS) announced the change of management on its website.

Its statement said the HNS executive board "unanimously decided" to dismiss Cacic, citing "recent results" as the reason for his departure.

The HNS announcement added: "It was unanimously decided that he was replaced by Zlatko Dalic, until recently the coach of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates."

Dalic, 50, has previously served on the Croatia Under-21 coaching staff, and has largely worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since 2010.

Source: AAP

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